NP Flag (USA)
Duisburg Dockers (Germany)
Welcome to the 2018 Big Bowl Group of Death. At least three of these teams could be the top seed in many other groups and would expect to make a deep playoff run. However, at least one will miss out. The Big Three in this group are the Hague Hyenas, NP Flag, and the Cobras.
Many will be familiar with the Hague Hyenas playing at Big Bowl as the Dutch Lions. While the Hyenas are a club team, they comprise 90% of the Dutch Lions squad including quarterback Cliff Dankers so expect the same as you would from the Lions. The schedule actually plays to the Hyenas’ advantage as they will have a lot more chemistry than the Cobras or NP and get to play the Cobras in the first game. While we think the timing of that does favour the Hyenas, that by no means is an assured victory. Alan Young’s Cobras are importing some top-level talent in the form of SGD players like Jakob Espersen and Jonas Bo Handsome…I mean Hansen. I said Hansen! While the ladies may fall for Jonas’ superman-like looks, it’s his game that has gotten us swooning as we rate him the best flag football player in Europe. And honestly, Jakob is probably just as good. Put them together with GB Lion Julian Holburn-White and Young has the most athletic receiver group at the tournament. Can he step up like he did at Flagging New Year and Pink Bowl or will struggle like he did at Champions Bowl and King Bowl?
We can’t talk about good athletes without bringing up NP Flag. We know they will have their third different QB in as many years but with the Reimel brothers they will still be dangerous. Jeff Reimel in particular is a nightmare to try and tackle and a devastating blitzer to boot. Their defense is mostly unchanged so they may need to carry the offense until it can gel. Luckily for NP, they don’t play the other top teams first and actually get the Cobras in the final game slot of the day. As such, they should be able to build up enough chemistry before their bigger tests of the day. While NP finished 5th in each of the last two years, losing only once each time, they showed a major vulnerability in how they handle adversity. They understandably aren’t used to playing from behind but probably will at some point given this group. If they don’t show more maturity than they did in previous years, they could be headed for an early exit.
We also wanted to quickly mention the Foxes. We don’t know much about them but given they hail from the best flag country in Europe, we don’t expect them to be an easy out.
Getting into the playoffs themselves will be a test enough for these teams but Sunday won’t get any easier. Should seeds hold, the winner of this group would probably not be worried until the quarterfinals where they would face the Copenhagen Barbarians. Win that and you’re rewarded with a semi-final match against the Armadillos. The runner-up would face a talented Buttonhookers squad in the sweet 16 and if they are able to win, would probably be favourites in the elite 8 before likely seeing Walldorf in the Semis. Group G is brutal but definitely the most rewarding if you want to play as many elite teams as possible.